Swedish Air Force Test Missiles
Robothistoriska Föreningen i Arboga
Sidan uppdaterad: 2017-02-18 14:18
Air Force Test missiles
General information - Test Missiles in the Swedish Air Force
Parallel to the Swedish Royal Navy, when they started planning for missile testing, also the Swedish Air Force initiated surveys on different types of missiles.
Primarily the survey took place at the Royal Swedish Air Force Materiel Administration, later on, joining other Defense Service Branches into the present Defense Materiel Administration
In the mid -50'ies about 15 different types of missiles were considered. The only missile that ended up in bulk production and became operative in the Swedish Defense was the navy target missile 304, which later received the designation RB04.
The leading and to a great extent the inspiring person for most of the missile versions was the technical director Chief Engineer Tore Edlén.
Around the year 1950 Mr. Edlén presented his idea to the sea target missile 304. It was intended to be dropped (not fired) from an aircraft towards a sea target, that visually or with the assistance from the aircraft radar had been located by the pilot. During a gentle dive the missile rocket motor was fired, whereby the missile could achieve a service range of several Swedish miles.
RB 301 on the launcher
RB 301 at the Technical Museum
The Air Force first test missile was the RB 301; "The Flying Wing”. The missile was manufactured at CVM (Central Workshop Malmslätt) and underwent testing at Karlsborg. The first test firing from a launcher took placed at Karlsborg in 1947 and later the missile was dropped from A/C J 21 R. The missile RB 301 was tested with various types of rocket motors. The Air Force closely followed the Royal Navy tests with the pulse jet engine of the V-1 version but at an early date they realized that these were crude and not suitable for the Air Force missiles.
RB 302 on the launcher at Karlsborg
RB 302 on the rail track launcher at Karlsborg
In 1947, parallel to the RB 301 program, a 302/303 concept was launch with a entirely different configuration: a cylindrical body, a long, sharp pointed front part, a thin aero foil and one powder rocket motor.
RB 302 was an 80 % scaled down model of RB 303. The RB 302 was test fired from a rail track S 1 at Karlsborg. The first air drop took place in 1948 from the A/C T18 B. The RB 303 was intended to be dropped from an aircraft at a high altitude, followed by a height reduction to 10 meters above the sea level. At the distance of 100 meters from its target it would dive to 3 meters below the water surface; it would continue as a torpedo towards the target. The aero foils would break off, when striking the water. The tests, simulating the diving into the water, were done by firing dummies with a steel nose from a wooden tower out into the Lake Vättern.
The experience from these tests led to the development of the airborne sea target, the missile 304. However, the RB 304 became too clumsy and heavy. Diameter 0.5 meter, wingspan 2.0 meter and a weight approx. 500 kilogram.
In order to re-use the test missiles several times, they were equipped with a parachute. After having passed the target, the missile received a signal to the elevator control box and the missile continued almost straight up as long as the kinetic energy lasted. Then the parachute was deployed and the missile fell slowly down into the water and was salvaged from a boat.
The testing was done over the Lake Vättern outside Karlsborg. The initial phase of the testing was the retaining of the altitude. These test missiles had the designation RB 304A and were dropped from the A/C J 29 (The flying Barrel).
RB 304B test launched from A/C A 32, The Lance
The next stage was related to the homing unit. These test missiles received the designation RB 304B and were dropped from the a/c 32 (The Lance). Parallel to the homing tests, also the tests with the proximity fuse eventually were initiated.
For monitoring and evaluation and the function of the various devices, a telemetric unit in the missile transmitted these values to receiving units at the command test center.
When the testing was almost completed, the line production of the combat missile 304C started. (Later designated to RB 04C). The manufacture of the test missiles as well as the combat missiles took place at CVA in Arboga. (Central Workshop Arboga).